A Deal with Water

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Dear Friends:  Do I have a deal for you!

I know how to take $1,800 and, in seven months, turn it into more than $115,000, and build twelve safe and secure apartments for domestic violence survivors and their children. Want to know my secret?

Okay, I don’t want to be too cheesy. But that’s what has happened. We trained a group of eleven women from the Rape Hurts Foundation in Jinja, Uganda, for five days last July – in fabrication, distribution, installation, and maintenance of BioSand Filters for cleaning water. The total cost, including the necessary tools (which are loaned to them for as long as they are using them) was $1,800, paid for with a small grant from the West Olympia Rotary Club! (Do any of you belong to a Rotary Club? Church? Friends Meeting? Women’s Group? You can do this too.)

Then they got to work. They sold water filters to the police, to prisons, to an international organization supporting foster kids, to schools, to women with HIV, to village associations, to . . .

And then, the filters do their magic. No more waterborne illnesses – no typhoid, bacterial or amoebic dysentery, rotavirus, diarrhea. Kids can attend school regularly. Families save money; as much as 70% of their income commonly goes to medical treatment and pharmaceuticals. Typical savings are $45 a month (sometimes much more), which is about the same amount as the cost as a single BioSand Water Filter. That means that clean water is FREE after the first month – for up to thirty years.

One family tells another family . . . and it spreads. No other marketing is necessary. People are walking miles to see the filters. Others are hoping to get employed in the project. Still others are begging for training for their own villages.

Rape Hurts Foundation now employs twenty-two people full-time, producing nine BioSand Filters a day. And with employment comes fulfillment of another dream -- the project is working to provide a safe and secure housing complex for survivors of domestic violence and their children. All the funds from the project’s first sale of water filters to local police were dedicated to the complex, which should be completed in just a few months.

What we at Friendly Water for the World have discovered, again and again, is that while communities may have very little in the way of access to material resources, they often have huge reserves of intelligence, resilience, pent-up initiative, labor, generosity, compassion, and caring. By sharing our knowledge, and providing training in ensuring clean water, we help to end a culture of dependency, enabling people and communities to take charge of their lives. And in doing so, we begin to realize our common dreams.

Please partner with them, and with us – and someday there will be no such distinction – to make even more dreams come true. Join us! We are Friendly Water for the World (www.friendlywater.net).

– David Albert, Klamath Falls Friends Church (NWYM)